Sunday, September 14, 2008

Curious about Failure: Are You Willing to Fail? Do You Admit It to Yourself and Others When It Happens?

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - Denis Waitley, American writer

Definition of Failure: Want of success; the state of having failed. Becoming insolvent; bankruptcy; suspension of payment; as, failure in business. Failing; a slight fault.

It may seem like I have chosen a negative theme for this week’s blog. What gave me the idea, first of all, was receiving October’s Ode magazine – “For Intelligent Optimists.” On the cover is a man lying on a stairway with his feet on step five and his head and shoulders on the floor. The Headline is: The Upside of Down, Why failure is good for you.

The featured article, In Praise of Failure by Marisa Taylor, is excellent. She covers J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard, in which Rowling stated that, “Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.” Taylor also sights the great successes from history who started out as failures: Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Carly Fiorina, Winston Churchill, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford and more.

No, failure isn’t a lot of fun. But, I can tell you with certainty, that rather than letting it discourage you, use it to learn and also spur you on to future success. As Rowling shared, go ahead and risk, because in this time of darkness, we have nothing to lose. As I have shared before, I have been involved with network marketing. And, it may be hard to believe with my usual optimism and positive attitude, I have been discouraged and frustrated.

Read my latest article at called Discouraged and/or Frustrated Network Marketers: Here Are Some New Solutions for You

Now, for some expert opinions:
  • To begin to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment.” - James Allen, American author
  • For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” - Mary Kay Ash, American businesswoman
  • The only risk of failure is promotion.” - Scott Adams, American cartoonist
  • He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.” - Paul Tillich, German theologian
  • Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt, American President
  • Sound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergencies of life instead of being overwhelmed by them. Failure is... the highway to success.” - Og Mandino, American author

And a couple for you to consider and post nearby:

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.” - Jack Lemmon, American actor

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill, English statesman

So, if you are experiencing or have experienced failure, write it down. List what you are or have learned from it. And move on with enthusiasm!